5 Ways to Give Back to Your Community This Holiday Season

The holiday season, a time of year spent with family and friends showing your thankfulness and love for one another through quality time and gifts. However, while many have an abundance of material items, many others are on the opposite end of the spectrum, unable to provide for themselves or their families. Personally, over holiday breaks I know I have a lot of free time on my hands with few responsibilities. Even when I do go back to my summer job over breaks, I find that I have a lot of extra time still on my hands. I feel as though I want to put it towards something productive, something other than finishing Parks and Rec for the third time.

A great way to feel useful and to be productive over breaks is to volunteer your time and energy with families who are disadvantaged and underprivileged. Volunteering is a great way to help others in a meaningful way and to give back to your community. Here are some specific ways to help others in your free time!

1. Volunteer at a soup kitchen:

Donating your time and service to those who are both running the soup kitchen and to those who are coming for a warm environment to eat, is a great way to give back to your hometown or area around your college campus. You can sign up for any amount of time you have available and you will definitely feel rewarded through the experience. 

2. Adopt a child or family for the holidays:

Adopting a child or family for the holidays isn't literally bringing a child into your home and caring for them. Instead, it's being matched with a certain child (or children) of a certain age and gender, and receiving a list of what they need along with Christmas wishes. Once you receive a child, you can get to shopping (within a certain budget) and donate your gifts to the charity where they will be wrapped and given to the families for Christmas. If you love shopping and picking out specific items for certain people, then this is the perfect opportunity for you!https://www.doinggoodtogether.org/bhf/adopt-a-child-or-family/  

3. Donate old clothes to shelters:

Whether it's a domestic violence shelter, a women's shelter, a homeless shelter or just the Salvation Army, donating your old clothes is a great way to provide people with the necessary clothing for the changing seasons along with helping the environment. Rather than throwing out clothes that you've grown out of or have simply have gotten tired of wearing, donating them to clothing drives is a great way to recycle while helping others. 

4. Donate canned goods to local food drives:

Food drives are prevalent around the holiday season, whether they're at a shelter, your library or in the student union at your college. Dropping off canned goods to food drives is a quick and easy opportunity to provide food for those in need and to provide others with a yummy holiday meal.   

5. Volunteer at an animal shelter:

Maybe you're not a people person and you have already given your unwanted clothes to your younger cousin, or you genuinely like canned green beans. While putting in extra effort to help people is extremely important during the holidays, animals also need love, care and attention. Almost every town has an animal shelter nearby and there are always plenty of animals who would be more than grateful for someone to come play with them for a little while...and who doesn't love puppies and kittens?